Jack Nicholson cemented nearly 30 more years of movie making from Michael Caine, the veteran British actor has revealed.
In an excerpt from his new memoir Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life (published in Entertainment Weekly), Caine has said that he was planning his retirement in the 1990s, but the Shining star talked him out of it.
“The scripts not only dried up, they started looking hurtfully different,” he writes.
“One of the lowest moments of my career – or so it seemed at the time – was that day I was sent the script in which, the producers had to spell out to me, I was to read the father, not the lover.
“My first reaction to the revelation that I was too old to play the romantic lead (I was about sixty) was that my acting career was over and I was going to have to radically reinvent ‘success.’ I moved to Miami, sent back the few scripts I received, opened a restaurant and settled down to write my autobiography.
“I told myself and others that I had retired and that I was happy. I was happy. It wasn’t difficult to find good things about this situation: it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter in Miami, my restaurant, South Beach Brasserie, was thriving, my publishers assured me my book would sell and I no longer had to get to six thirty a.m. makeup calls. I’m usually a hard worker and here was an incredible chance to be lazy.”
Things changed thanks to Nicholson, however, who came with some expert advice – presumably having been in the same situation himself.
“But I was even happier when Jack Nicholson, a wonderful actor, who was also in Miami at the time, persuaded me that the reinvention did not have to be so extreme,” he goes on.
“Why not simply reinvent myself as a movie actor, as opposed to a movie star? A character actor, rather than a leading actor?”
He says that things turned around for him again with The Cider House Rules in 1999, which saw him win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
“I was off and running again,” he continues. “I was using the difficulty, using my change in status to play a wider range of more interesting, more challenging parts than I had done in my movie-star days.
“I retired more than twenty years ago, and since then I have made more than forty new movies with a whole new generation of directors, producers and movie stars. I may no longer get the girl, but I’m still getting the parts. Bliss.”
The book is out now.